USC suspended star cornerback Josh Shaw indefinitely on Wednesday after he admitted his story about spraining both of his ankles after jumping from a second-floor balcony to rescue his drowning nephew was a “complete fabrication.”
USC announced Shaw’s “heroism” in a press release on Monday. When national media descended on the campus to interview Shaw on Tuesday, Shaw was unavailable and reporters were told that the school was investigating Shaw’s story after receiving “contradictory” phone calls. On Wednesday, Shaw came clean to school officials.
“He said that the story he told of rescuing his nephew in a pool in Palmdale, Calif., was a complete fabrication,” the university wrote. “He apologized for misleading his coaches, teammates, athletic department officials and the public.”
UPDATE: Shaw has retained an attorney and reportedly issued this apology through his lawyer: “On Saturday August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part. My USC coaches, the USC Athletic Department, and especially (Steve) Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am grateful.” Shaw has reportedly been named in a police report about a man “leaving the apartment balcony.” According to the Los Angeles Police Department:
“On Saturday, August 23rd, at approximately 10:40 p.m. PT officers from Central Division responded to a radio call of a screaming woman at the 500 block of North Figueroa. When they arrived, officers met with witnesses who directed them to an apartment complex. After numerous attempts to contact the residents of the apartment, officers feared someone may be in inside and made entry, but no one was home. Officers continued their investigation and noticed the rear window had been pried open. Witnesses described a black male with dreadlocks leaving the apartment balcony. Officers then later met with a woman who was a resident of the apartment along with her roommates. The female said that her boyfriend was Josh Shaw who is a black male with dreadlocks. Mr. Shaw is listed in the report as the victim’s boyfriend who happened to have a similar description of the suspect leaving the apartment. No suspects have been arrested. The investigation is still ongoing.”
USC head coach Steve Sarkisian said that, “We are extremely disappointed in Josh.”
“He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story,” Sarkisian continued. “I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized. Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him.”
USC also said it “regrets the posting of the initial story on Monday (Aug. 25).”